The 400-Word Review: Deadpool
By Sean Collier
February 15, 2016
The allure of Deadpool, at least to those without a relationship to its source material, comes from its MPAA rating. Unlike nearly every superhero movie ever made (and every Marvel-related project since Punisher: War Zone in 2008), Deadpool bears an R rating. He can swear, he can draw blood, he can show skin.
And with nary a drop of blood or a serious expletive in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, those minor cinematic transgressions are rendered delightful.
The bad attitude is also Deadpool’s most notable separation from the pack. In its plot and visual style, first-time feature director Tim Miller has stuck very close to the Marvel mold (even though this is not an official MCU entry, produced — like 2015’s Fantastic Four and the Amazing Spider-Man films — by 20th Century Fox). It’s an origin story that bleeds into a tale of revenge; it’s kinetic and heavy on computer-generated mayhem. You know. A superhero movie.
But first and foremost, it’s very, very funny. The title character’s humor is over-the-top, but so gleefully sardonic and foul that you’ll find it easy to be charmed, especially with lead Ryan Reynolds clearly having the time of his life. And the film itself is laced with the character’s humor, beginning with the opening credits (in which no cast or crew are actually named, instead listing “The Comic Relief” or “A CGI Character,” and “An Overpaid Tool” for Miller).
This is a film in which the fourth wall is not only broken — frequently with Deadpool acknowledging the break in those terms — but the very reality of the universe is brought into question. (When a pair of X-Men drag Deadpool off in hopes of getting an audience with Professor Xavier, Deadpool asks, “McAvoy or Stewart? These timelines are getting hard to follow.”)
While Reynolds carries the film effortlessly, the rest of the cast can’t quite keep up; Morena Baccarin is unconvincing as our hero’s bad-girl girlfriend, and Ed Skrein is not the most memorable villain. TJ Miller, as bartender buddy Weasel, and Brianna Hildebrand, as latter-day mutant Negasonic Teenage Warhead, do rise above the pack.
Is the violence over-the-top? Sure. So is the sex, and so is the swearing, and so are the nods and winks. But that is the point of this Deadpool: It is the superhero movie that the MCU flicks can’t be. And it is thrilled to fill that role.
My Rating: 8/10
Sean Collier is the Associate Editor of Pittsburgh Magazine and a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Read more from Sean at pittsburghmagazine.com/afterdark